Proteasome inhibition is a promising strategy for treating cancers. Herein, we report the discovery of novel drug-like inhibitors of mammalian proteasome 20S using a multistep structure-based virtual ligand screening strategy. Sulfone- or piperazine-containing hits essentially belong to the under-represented class of noncovalent and nonpeptidic proteasome inhibitors. Several of our compounds act in the micromolar range and are cytotoxic on human tumoral cell lines. Optimization of these molecules could lead to better anticancer therapy.
January 14, 2010